Topic: "Black Friday" (2)
Today Frodo purchased a small refrigerator and two pairs of reading glasses, on sale. He purchased these necessities in mid-afternoon from one of America's most visited retail establishments, and he was in-and-out within fifteen minutes on what is advertised as the busiest shopping day of the year. As Frodo considered his commentary on what must be a disappointing scene, Sam advised him that this period is actually a traditionally good time to shop.
"The crowds have come and gone for the early-opening sale items," offered Sam, "and the increased staffing in the stores makes this lull almost heavenly for the accomplished shopper."
Frodo, as usual, was skeptical, and began to look for indicators that his long-predicted consumer spending collapse had actually begun. Frodo has long theorized that credit woes would eventually bring a halt to the purchasing power of the American Middle Class. Borrowing against home equity, reaching the credit limit on credit cards, and working multiple jobs would eventually, so thinks Frodo, catch up with a harried populace. Perhaps this "lull" was actually the beginning of what has seemed to be the logical conclusion to a mindless spurt of economic growth?
So Frodo tuned in the news. The lead story was the continuing, surging, insurgency in Iraq, and the cycle of violence that has brought civilization in that part of our small blue planet to a grinding halt. All as predicted by Frodo, sadly, before the first invading troop set foot on the soil of the former Iraqi totalitarian state. The next story was all about "Black Friday," (as it is known in commercial circles) signifying the importance of the beginning of the Holiday Shopping Season. The conclusion, on every channel Frodo could capture, was that the early indications reflected strong demand, fostered by reduced prices and increased availability. The third story was totally lost on Frodo.
Mount Doom was a lonely place as Frodo and Sam pulled into the parking lot, planning to take the mini-refrigerator into Frodo's office. All of the businesses, most of which are small, were closed as if "Black Friday" were a legitimate holiday, and that no one really needed to work, including Frodo. Even the housepainters, who maintain a covey of immigrants working seemingly without pause, were nowhere to be found.
Frodo noticed the message light on his telephone, and was smugly ready to predict a number of inquiries for potential business opportunities until he noted that there was but a single message on voicemail. It was a reminder for Frodo that he would be "ringing the bell" for The Salvation Army in two weeks, as he and his friend Abe had done last year. Last year the "take" was phenomenal, and Frodo noted that so much of that generosity was based on the tragedy of Hurrican Katrina. Perhaps Frodo will truly have something to offer about the actual state of the American Economy when he reports on the events of that day, December 9th?
Frodo will ring the bell loud and hard, and he will return the Holiday Greetings of all who smile and drop coins into the bucket. Here's to hope that both of the lead stories on that day will prove Frodo wrong. Hope, that is what these days are supposed to signify, aren't they?